While President Obama has signaled willingness to compromise, neither he nor top congressional Republicans have publicly offered any concessions on their past stances.

Speech_BubblesPresident Barack Obama said voters sent a “very clear message” on November 6 that they want both parties to stop bickering over politics and take the necessary steps to cut the budget deficit through a combination of tax increases for the wealthy and cuts in spending.

Obama opened a White House news conference reiterating his call for Congress to immediately pass an extension of the Bush- era tax cuts for the first $200,000 of annual income for individuals and $250,000 for married couples. He said the rates on earnings above those levels should be allowed to rise when they expire at the end of the year.

“We should at least do what we agree on,” Obama said. “I won’t pretend that figuring out everything else will be easy.”

If Congress doesn’t act by the end of 2012, $607 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases are scheduled to take effect starting in January. Taxes on ordinary income, capital gains, dividends and estates will increase, pushing the top tax rate to 39.6 percent from 35 percent.

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Source: Hans Nichols and Margaret Talev | Bloomberg Businessweek